Political dynasties, relevance and survival

Today there are many political dynasties which wield great power either by inheritance as in monarchies or through political influence through elections. The most famous political dynasties are those in the USA and in India.

The Bush family has grown into a dynasty. After Bush Sr came Bush Jr. The son hasn’t inherited from his father just the presidency after a lapse by Pt Clinton, but also key staff like vice president Dick Cheney and the former secretary of states Collin Powel who also served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Bush Sr declared war on Saddam after his invasion of Kuwait.

In the US the Kennedy dynasty seems to have gone under shadow. Maybe the same fate is awaiting the Bush dynasty unless Jeb Bush creates the surprise by becoming a presidential candidate in 2008, which will make presidency in the US a near monarchy with power passing from father to son and from son to another son.

If Roosevelt stayed in power for four terms as an exception to the constitution as drafted by the Founding Father not to allow power to be perpetuated in the hands of the few, it won’t be surprising if the succession to the presidency by another Bush will make him the third Bush president of the US – provided the Republicans make convincing campaigns to make him ascend the presidential throne.

The difference is that in democratic countries, such dynasties can be challenged through electoral campaigns. In India the Ghandi dynasty has seen itself rise and fall by coming to power then having it snatched from it in other elections. They don’t see themselves as the sole representatives of the country they belong to. As far as I know they hold just political power but they aren’t in possession of key economic sectors, making them the richest in their countries.

In Gulf States, the dynasties there are unchallenged as in Qatar or Kuwait where the Emir is elected by his family and not by the people. The danger is that when dynasties hold absolute powers and its members are the only who have the right to be in Key positions.

In the Gulf States, the largest number of seniors is made of princes, excluding princesses and the rest of the people from choosing who should represent them in the government. It’s no wonder that Emirs and princes are among the richest in the world because there is nobody in their country to bring them to account or to compete against them. As they monopolize political power, they also monopolize the economic sector.

It can be natural that the best have the best positions in power. But power shouldn’t turn into a dictatorship. For the survival of dynasties, democratic spirit should govern. A dynasty seeking power just claiming it is its right to do so without popular support or without swaying with time is bound to become a piece of history remembered with disgrace.


  1. Looney said,

    October 4, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Benazir Bhutto, Megawati Sukarnoputri, and Chandrika Kumaratunga could be added to the list. Then there is the always entertaining Kim Jong Il.

  2. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    October 4, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    You are absolutely right Looney. The list can’t be exhausted. Too many dynasties to count on the tips of one’s fingers.

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